Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, May 30, 2003

I Love Saturday Friday...
07:00am Get out of bed and play on new SDSL line and Wi-Fi networked computer. Checking e-mails.
08:00am Shower and get dressed in jeans and T-shirt; Friday 'casual' garb.
09:00am Get to work.
01:00pm-03:00pm Pub lunch in the sunshine. Drink bit too much.
03:05pm Start playing Pop! Erasure's Greatest Hits slightly too loud.
03:06pm Asked to turn it down.
03:06pm Turn it up ear splittingly loud for about 10 seconds and then turn it ever-so-slightly down.
04:30pm Decide to recable a critical backup system with pink cables 'for fun'.
04:35pm Realise I've not got a hope in Hell of finishing the recabling by end of the day.
04:35pm-05:28pm Try and undo what I've done with random plugging/unplugging of cables.
05:29pm Check watch. Push all ther cables back in the cabinet and hope no-one notices until Monday.
05:30pm Leave work.
06:00pm Meet Guy in Coleherne.
07:15pm Briefly consider the idea of eating.
07:30pm Meet rest of gang at Hammersmith Apollo bar.
08:30pm Erasure on stage.
08:31pm-10:30pm Dancing, singing and back to bar for frequent top-ups.
10:31pm Over-ambitious plans to 'make a night of it' are formed.
10:32pm Over-ambitious plans to 'make a night of it' fade.
10:34pm On tube home.
11:30pm Catch up with Big Brother Live and shout at TV because I thought Federico should have been evicted not Jon Anouska.
03:30am Wake up having fallen asleep on sofa. Crawl to bed.

UPDATE SATURDAY: We did eat as it turned out with David and Jason; then we drank beer by a church in Hammersmith (listening to stories of Guy's graveyard conquests). The Erasure show was great and we bumped into loads of people we knew. After the show I went to Central Station where I bumped into Ferry-bags - amongst others :)
I wish I had a garden...
I guess building a pond online is the next best thing.
Rock my boat...
The finest real birch bark canoes you can imagine. But why wood you want to? ('wood'! geddit?! oh, please yourselves!)

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Easter Eggs...
Do you remember years ago the fun people had finding Easter Eggs in software - those little pieces of code, messages or games that programmers leave to make their mark. Well here is a site that has collected them all together. There are thousands of examples in all sorts of software, films, TV, videos, art and hardware. "Spy Hunter" in Excel 2000 is very good. Also the Apple iPod has an Easter Egg if you select "About" from the main menu, then hold the centre button for a couple seconds, a mini breakout game appears on the screen. Some are more suspect though, "On each Kate Bush 45 single the logo that she created for her original band KT is hidden somewhere. Each single has a weird inscription scratched into the quiet zone at the end of the record. Only she knows what they mean." Hmm... perhaps.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Bend over let me see you… SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER...
This just in from Darren.

SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER, the retro-tastic club for hip chicks and cool cats, returns to FLIP for another funky outing on Wednesday June 4th

At last months launch party the up for it crowd of soul brothers and sisters were a grooving and a moving all night long as DJ Juggy Jones took them on a musical rollercoaster ride through the Sixties and Seventies, with his groovy blend of Motown, Northern Soul, Funk and Rare Groove.

This month, to celebrate the forthcoming release of Soul Satisfaction 4 (Motown), Juggy will be joined on the decks by guest jock Jo Wallace, who has compiled the highly acclaimed series of fabulous hard to find and overlooked Motown tunes.

Then Juggy invites you to dance the night away to classics from Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, rare soul from the vaults of Stax, Hi and Atlantic, and funky tunes from James Brown, The O’Jays and the Fatback Band.

It’s What’s In The Grooves That Counts

Wednesday June 4th (and every 1st Wednesday of the month ) 10pm – Late
FLIP, 30 Lisle Street, London, WC2 (Leicester Sq underground)
£3 B4 11pm then £4

FLIP runs a majority gay and lesbian door policy
Info/Guest List: juggy@shakeyourtailfeather.co.uk
I'm feeling horny today so I thought I'd post a picture of my favourite kind of men - ginger jobs. Hmmmm... ginger.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be...
I got this from Sarah-Jane. And it did make me smile. An ode to the past I guess.

The following makes you feel old ..but it also brings back loads of good memories. If you were born after 1980, this does not apply to you... Kids of today are wrapped in cotton wool......... Read on.

If you lived as a child in the 50's, 60's or 70's, looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have...

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Our cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cupboards, when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.

No mobile phones. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth, and there were no law suits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame, but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. We ate cakes, bread and butter, and drank cordial, but we were never overweight...we were always outside playing. We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, video games, 65 channels on pay TV, video tape movies, surround sound, personal mobile phones, Personal Computers, Internet chat rooms ... we had friends.

We went outside and found them. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rung the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By ourselves!

Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a guardian - how did we do it?

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever. Footy and netball had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with disappointment.....

Some pupils weren't as smart as others so they failed an exam and were held back to repeat the same year. Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law - imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

And you're one of them. Congratulations!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before lawyers and government regulated our lives....... for our own good...... If you're not smiling by the end of this, then what were you doing when you were young?

Close your eyes and go back in time...Before the Internet...Before semi-automatics, oyriders and crack.... Before X-Box, SEGA or Super Nintendo... Way back........I'm talking about Hide and Seek in the park.

The corner shop. Hopscotch. Butterscotch. Skipping. Handstands. Football with an old can. Fingerbob. Beano, Dandy, Buster, Twinkle and Dennis the Menace. Roly Poly. Hula Hoops, jumping the stream,building dams. The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass. Bazooka Joe bubble gum. An ice cream cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune Chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe Neapolitan or perhaps a screwball.

Wait......Watching Saturday morning cartoons, short commercials or the flicks.Children's Film Foundation, The Double Deckers, Red Hand Gang, The Tomorrow People, Tiswas or Swapshop?, and 'Why Don't You'? - or staying up for Doctor Who.

When around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like going somewhere. Earwigs, wasps, stinging nettles and bee stings. White dog poo. Sticky fingers. Playing Marbles. Ball bearings. Big 'uns and Little 'uns. Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and Zorro. Climbing trees. Building igloos out of snow banks. Walking to school, no matter what the weather. Running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed.

Pillow fights. Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles. Being tired from playing....remember that?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon. Football cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.Choppers and Grifters. Eating raw jelly. Orange squash ice pops.

Remember when...There were two types of trainers - girls and boys, and Dunlop Green flash - and the only time you wore them at school was for P.E.

You knew everyone in your street - and so did your parents. It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends. You didn't sleep a wink on Christmas eve.

When nobody owned a pure-bred dog, 25p was decent pocket money, Curly Whirlys. Space Dust. Toffo's. Top Trumps. You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.

Nearly everyone's mum was at home when the kids got there.

Any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When being sent to the head's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our
lives but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs etc.

Parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! and some of us are still afraid of them. Didn't that feel good?

Just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that!

Remember when.... Decisions were made by going "Ip Dip Dog sh!t ".

Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly". The worst thing you could catch from your opposite (boys/girls) was germs. And the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one. It was unbelievable that 'British Bulldog' wasn't an Olympic event.

Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a catapult. Nobody was prettier than Mum. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin.

Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true. Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED.

Well, maybe - but it's fun to look back sometimes.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Big Brother's Little Brother...
Big Brother Four starts tonight on Channel Four in the UK. We'll be glued for the 64 day stint, no doubt. I've received all sorts of information about upcoming twists, hidden walls, celebrities serving at the bar / nightclub and a teenage version. We shall see which of these proves to be true.

Of course, what I'm really looking forward to is a nightly gander at the lovely Dermot O'Leary who presents Big Brother's Little Brother on E4.

Hmmm... Dermot.
Cool Art...
This is fab. Especially this one.
If like me you want to be an early adopter of the Oyster Card you can register online.

Initially it's only for annual or monthly season ticket holders. Having only just bought my annual travelcard I thought that maybe I'd have to wait for a full 11 months before I got my mitts on one of these shiny blue little cards, but when I spoke to them today and they assured me that they will transfer any remaining credit over.

Part of the reason I want one of these things is that my current flimsy ticket keeps getting demagnetised when it goes anywhere near my phone.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Single Verse...
This just in from Guy.
Reading your Blog this morning. This is an ode for all single people like myself:
"I know all the postures of your body, and all the tones of your voice.
I know you in action and in stillness.
I know all your fears and wants, and all your loves and hates.
I know you in joy and in pain.
I know all about your past
and all your hopes for the future. I know you in success and in failure.
If only I knew your name....."
Guy Stock
Pop Quiz (answers)...
01. "No Good Advice". Cheryl, Nadine, Kimberley, Nicola And Sarah
02. "Do It With Madonna".
03. "Take Your Shoes Off"
04. Peugeot 206
05. The Move
06. Tyrannosaurus Rex
07. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
08. Donovan
09. Princess Julia, Original SAW, 2003 Remix
10. Ghost
11. Love Story
12. The Dandy Warhols
13. The Foo Fighters
14. Dave Gahan
15. Feeder
16. The Donnas
17. The Vapors
18. "...C60, C90 Go"
19. Hazel O'Connor
20. 1980
The Wisdom of Roger...
I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just arseholes.

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy it.

I've learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you'd better have a big willie or huge boobs.

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to others - they are more screwed up than you think.

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades, and there had better be a lot of money to take its place.
The shape of things to come...
How Palladium will secure your PC.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Pop Quiz...
Last night Darren and I were our usual team of two down at the Retro Bar Pop Teasers Pop Quiz. Wendy was the MC. It was quite tough in my book. We got 13/21. The winners got 16.5/21.

How many can you get? (Answers tomorrow)

01. What is Girls Aloud's new single called? And for a bonus point name them all (first names only).
02. What is the The Androids new single called? (Wendy was rather picky with the answer)
03. What's the Cheeky Girls current hit called? (Again Wendy seemed to be rather exact with her required answer)
04. What advert does Bhangra Knights Vs Husan's "Husan" feature in?
05. Who have a psychedelic hit with "I Can Hear the Grass Grow"?
06. Who have a psychedelic hit with "Once Upon the Seas of Abyssinia" (precise name only)?
07. Who have a psychedelic hit with "Spontaneous Apple Creation"?
08. Who have a psychedelic hit with "Atlantis"
09. Name three mixes/remixes of Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)"
10. "Unchained Melody" - name the film
11. It starts, "Where do I begin, to tell the story..." - name the film
12. Their current single has B-sides covers of Blondie's "Call Me" and Frankie's "Relax". Name the band.
13. Who has in on Q Rocks CD with "Come Back"?
14. Who has in on Q Rocks CD with "Bottle Living"?
15. Who has in on Q Rocks CD with "Helium"?
16. Who has in on Q Rocks CD with "It's On The Rocks"?
17. Who had a hit with "Turning Japanese"?
18. Complete the song title "C30,..."?
19. Who had a hit with "Eight Day"?
20. What was the year the previous three songs were hits in the UK?
Rip, mix, burn, jail?...
Coming to a computer near you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Goldfrapp at the Astoria...
Last night Marky, Paul, Simon and I went to see Goldfrapp on their UK tour. Seeing Goldfrapp at the Union Chapel was THE gig of last year if not ever for me and so my expectations were pretty darn'd high. I'd done my ground work too. I'd brought their new album Black Cherry a few weeks earlier and had it on repeat play at the office. Rather like their first album Felt Mountain, Black Cherry was a bit of slow burner at first but after about half a dozen listens I was hooked.

Prior to the gig we met up in Comptons for a swifty with Gazbags but failed rather miserably to persuade him to join us. Had we succeeded he might have had the rather unpleasant task of negotiating with touts (the gig was sold out ages ago). From what we saw later though the touts must have miscalculated rather badly the on-the-day demand as they found themselves asking not too much of a premium over the ticket price (supply and demand and all that). Serves them right!

Once inside the Astoria we got ourselves an overpriced can of beer and took up our usual position right behind the tallest man in the place.

The support act was the Mountaineers. I quite liked them - if that's not too damning with faint praise. My only real comment would be that they perhaps needed to polish up their stage act a bit. It wasn't exactly gripping. After they left the stage there then what seemed like an interminable wait as the two sets of roadies grappled with each other - one crew trying to remove the Mountaineeer's equipment and the other to setup Goldfrapp's. Ho hum.

Eventually the gig did start though - but really quite late (8:45pm) leaving just 80 minutes of available time to play (out by 10pm as G-A-Y was to start at 10:30pm) - but as Simon pointed out their two albums are only a little over 40 minutes each so they just didn't really have enough material to fill a longer set. I reluctantly agreed with him. Write some more stuff guys!

The set was divided into roughly three sections: firstly they rather religiously alternated between tracks from Felt Mountain and Black Cherry gradually introducing the crowd to their new material, in the second half of the gig they just went for broke and concentrated on the rockier tracks from Black Cherry and finally we had the encores. You would think that 'the encores' wouldn't be a section all by itself but there were three batches of them and they took up a large proportion of the gig - but more of that later.

Goldfrapp seem to have two main types of songs. The first being dreamy, floaty music that wafts across the listener as the remarkable instrument that is Alison's voice weaves in and out of the lush musical textures. The second is crashing, thrashing, smashing discord that more often that not sends Alison's voice from a base distorted screech soaring up to the high pitched wail of a siren beckoning you to a fate few could resist and few could survive. It's music that demands to be listened to not heard. We were treated to ample amounts of both types.

The audience last night started to sway at various points and yet few of them seemed to realise it. Heads would bob and shoulders would shake like puppets on strings under Goldfrapp's control. They had been captured by the overpowering force of what we were hearing and it had left them utterly spellbound. This entrapment was a joyous thing though judging by the smiles that had spread across every face. The silence of the crowd until the last note of each and every magnificent song was in stark counterpoint to the rapturous applause that was to follow.

In the end they played for just a disappointing 55 minutes finishing with the mighty track Black Cherry itself - but then we had a further 25 minutes of encores! Included in this last section was my favourite, Pilots complete with glitterball, and the 'surprise' encore (hinted at by Mike) - this even topped their cover of ONJ's Physical.

Alison's voice was in good shape throughout and as one guy remarked at the end, "Boy, can she sing! Not songs, mind you!" and that is indeed the delightful oxymoron that is Goldfrapp. Music but not as we know it.

Can't wait till the next gig.
Suicide bomb alert...
London is on bomb alert.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Tina C...
On Tuesday night we decided to go to The Comedy Camp underneath Bar Code. The Comedy Camp is Simon Happily's gay and gay-friendly stand-up comedy night. Tina C was headlining and we couldn't resist as we've always been such big fans - stretching back to the days when Tina C (or rather his alter ego, Chris Green) ran Screamers at The Loft in the mid-90s.

Screamers was held every Wednesday night and as far as I know it was the first straight-friendly stand-up comedy club in London. We were regulars and we saw Graham Norton there "before he was famous" along with a number of other gay and gay-friendly comedians. Some of whom made the big time and some of whom have disappeared without a trace. But it was always Tina we came to C. In fact so fanny (is that a word?) were we that we even followed Tina C down to Brighton on tour once. We've seen most of her one woman shows and have all her records. No Dick's As Hard As My Life being one of my favourites.

The show on Tuesday consisted of three other acts (which were funny, but not that funny) before the masterful (mistressful?) appearance of Tina C herself. Her act was as hilarious as ever - including wry digs at Anti-War / Pro-War supporters through the power of sing-a-long (how else?), comments on UK fiscal policy, in praise of schizophrenia and the embarrassment that God often experiences when he answers someone's apparent call for help when actually they are just having sex (Oh, God! Yes! That's good! My God! Yes!).

Chatting to Chris afterwards he says Tina C is taking up residency at Freedom Bar nect week but I can't see any mention of it in the listings. In any event you can go check out for yourself other places Tina C is performing.

Also of note is Chris's other wonderful creation Ida Barr who is back performing at The Comedy Camp on June 10th. We'll be there!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

We have a house-guest at the moment. Paul. He's one of my bestest friends and it's great to have him staying with us. I haven't seen much of him in recent years as he has a home in Sitges but is over here working on a TV programme for the Discovery Channel. We used to go out together many, many moons ago - actually we dated for 7 years - and it was a very happy time being in the swinging 80s.

We also have another house guest at the moment too - Carl. Carl is someone Mark met years ago at an AIDS vigil in Trafalgar Square and they hit it off with immediately. Carl lives in Chicago and comes over to stay with us every now and again whether it's for business or pleasure. Carl is a great guy and always fun to spend time with.

This Saturday we have a third house-guest arriving - Simon. Simon is Paul's other half and is coming over to see Paul but also to have his birthday treat - going to see Goldfrapp on Monday. I haven't seen Simon is ages and it'll be great to catch up with him.

So all in all we have a bit of house full at the moment.
The Wit of Roger...
So this is an IM conversation I had with Rog a couple of days ago. He's a funny man and he always brightens up my day.

Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant message conversation.
Roger says: morning. busy?
Jonathan says: Hi. not too bad.
Roger says: If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
Roger says: Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.
Roger says: Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
Jonathan says: lol
Jonathan says: If you can't get a father figure, get a father figurine
Roger says: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
Jonathan says: Don't let them smell your need, let them need your smell
Roger says: If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
Jonathan says: If you can't seize the day, try at least to seize the late afternoon
Roger says: The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
Jonathan says: A show with no mirror ball is a seminar
Roger says: A closed mouth gathers no foot.
Jonathan says: Take the leap of faith or at least take the leap of Marianne Faithfull
Roger says: Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windscreen.
Jonathan says: Before the backlash, try to get some frontlash
Roger says: Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.
Jonathan says: When you're playing poker, make sure you face isn't playing snap
Roger says: lol
Jonathan says: OK, enough now
Roger says: already
Jonathan says: later x
Roger says: bye x

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Got too many remote controls?...
This could be the answer - The Kameleon.
Microsoft programmers have a sense of humour - just...
Buried away in computer code can be some interesting insights into software programmers thinking. And inevitably the software superpower we know and love as Microsoft doesn't always manage to catch these little gems before they make it into the wild. So I wonder who came up with this dialog box text?

In Windows XP is a dynamic link library called MSGINA.DLL. If you open MSGINA.DLL with an editor, select DIALOG, go to 2210, then select 1033 you will see (in the text part) what you see below)

2210 DIALOG 0, 0, 274, 200
FONT 8, "MS Shell Dlg"
CONTROL "&Why did the computer shut down unexpectedly?", -1, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 44, 7, 173, 10
CONTROL "The computer got very poorly and decided to end it's own suffering.", 2212, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 44, 40, 173, 33
CONTROL "&Problem Id", -1, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 44, 80, 173, 10
CONTROL "&Comment", -1, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 44, 106, 173, 10

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Laurie Anderson...
On Saturday Paul and I went to see one of our favourite artists perform at the Barbican Theatre - Laurie Anderson. She was bringing her show Happiness to London as part of the European leg of an international tour. The show was a sell-out and we estimated the audience was about 50% gay - split roughly 50/50 poofs and dykes.

As regular readers may know I am a long term fan of Anderson's work dating back to the early 1980's concert United States I-IV and the studio album that followed, Big Science. Big Science itself spawned the 'novelty hit' O Superman - written as a response to the failed US hostage rescue attempt in Iran in the late '70s.

Big Science is a masterwork. The tracks are skeletal, sometimes minimalist, but utterly moving. These days you can get pretty jaded with some electronic music, but listening to Anderson's early work again you can't help but be surprised all over again by the sheer creativity of her sounds. It makes bad background music, because it demands your attention. The music was made to go with the original concert, which was a performance art piece with film, photographs, special effects, spoken text, lights and hand gestures. Anderson once said that when she listens to Big Science she thinks, "where are the pictures?" I never felt the album was missing anything.

Albums such as Mister Heartbreak (1984), Home Of The Brave (1986), Strange Angels (1989), Bright Red / Tightrope (1994) and The Ugly One With The Jewels And Other Stories (1995) were all to follow further establishing Anderson as not only one of the premier performance artists in the world but also as a successful recording artist too.

And over the years Anderson has worked with such luminaries as Lou Reed (her long term partner), Bob Dylan, Robert Wilson, Marianne Faithful, William Burroughs, Brian Eno, Adrian Belew, Peter Gabriel, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Laswell, Philip Glass, Tony Levin, Phoebe Snow, Wim Wenders, Spaulding Grey, Jean-Michel Jarre, The Roches, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jonathan Demme, John Cale, David Byrne, Ray Phiri, Bhakithi Khumalo and Tony Levin. Quite an impressive list of names I think you'll agree for the maker of a 'novelty hit' back in 1982.

Her more recent album Life On A String (2001) got much critical acclaim and many feel it is her best work. Last year Anderson released a live album of a concert performed just a few days after the 9/11 disaster. Recorded in Town Hall New York it is simply called Live In New York (2002).

So we come to her present tour. Happiness is like much of her work; through the telling of stories it looks at contemporary culture, through various filters: synthetic, language, love songs, animal communication and techno burn out.

She describes it thus, "Happiness is my way of looking at some of the things that both interest and trouble me: the evolution of behavior, how we learn and what we remember, expectations, the meaning of justice and the effects of increasing speed; colored by the darker elements of doubt and fear."

We found it to be a stripped back and flexible experience which encompassed a variety of Anderson's personal experiences, including two weeks in McDonald's, a zen rafting trip through Iowa and time she spent living with an Amish family. All very thought-provoking, witty, moving and at times darn right funny. She had a great sense of timing and was a master of delivery. She also tells a great joke about Jesus that I simply can't repeat here.

The show over, we sat in our seats for a few minutes mesmorised. Stirring only to amble toward the fast growing queue to meet her afterwards. When we finally got to the front I confided in her that "I loved your dancing". "But there wasn't any dancing", she replied. "There was for me". So she drew a little picture on my album cover of her feet dancing and put a reference to her song Let X=X by adding "Let X=everything". "Why do you have such a strong gay following", I asked. She looked genuinely surprised and a little disbelieving. "Do I? Really? Hmm. Well, maybe it's because my show is intelligent". She had a point. She's one clever lady.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Anderson is one of the first artists-in-residence for NASA.
Another cool Internet connection speed test...
How fast are you?

Friday, May 09, 2003

Play CRASH!...
Crash is a bit like Frogger, bit like a low tech Micromachines.
Find a free Wireless Access Point in your area...
With this Wi-Fi locator site. Sadly there are only three listed in the UK at the moment. But that is about to change...
Sex at noon taxes...
Here is a site that has all the palindromes you'll ever need (words or sentences that read the same backwards as forwards). Here are some of my favourites:-

Elves seem to get a strong showing:
Bald elf fled lab
Elf farm raffle.
Flee elf!

The eternal questions:
Borrow or rob?
Can I attain a 'C'?
Deny a god, O gay Ned?
Do geese see god?
Hug a bared nun under a bag, uh?

The personal:
Dennis and Edna sinned.
"Delia was ill!", Lisa wailed.
Harass Sarah!
or even Harass selfless Sarah!
Evade me, Dave.
Eve damned Eden

The weird:
Draw noses onward!
I prefer pi.
"Nurses run!" says sick Cissy as nurses run

The truth:
D: "Alas, no tips; I spit on salad!"
God damn! Mad dog.
Gods send a madness: dog.

And of course the crude:
Knob red, no wonder! Bonk.
My gym taxes sex at my gym.
No sex, or extra-wet Stewart xeroxes on!
Sex at noon taxes.
Convert English into a number of dialects with one click...
This site, similar to the pornalize site we all know and love, can change text or complete web sites into a number of different dialects including Cockney, Jive or Hacker. Bit of fun for a Friday.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

The case of the missing sandwich...
Perhaps we should lunch an enquiry?
Shake Your Tail Feather...

INSERTED UPDATE: It's now the day after the post below. David, Ian, Jason, Billy, David, Adam, Paul, Jim, Steve et al were all there. I think we judge Darren's big opening as a success. A fun time we had. The place wasn't exactly packed but that is perhaps to be expected on the first night. Word will spread and I'm sure they'll be swinging from the rafters very soon. Darren choice of music was, as ever, masterfully - amply demonstratred by the fact that he even got my tired old bones on that dance floor at one point. I hope to see you all down there on the first Wednesday in June and every first Wednesday of the month thereafter.

Tonight is the opening night of Shake Your Tail Feather run by Boyz's pin-up DJ Juggy - known to his nearest and dearest as the gorgeous Darren. Darren played his hip, happening tunes at my 40th birthday party and he went down a storm (I thought I'd post a picture of Darren DJing at my party but now I've flicked through some of the pictures and actually seen what we got up to I've thought better of it! I wouldn't want to embarrass the guy tonight - his first big night!). Anyways, here's the promo:

You are invited to the opening night of SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER the retro-tastic club for hip chicks and cool cats. Two years after packing up his box of groovy tunes and heading south DJ Juggy Jones makes a welcome return to the capital with the re-launch of SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER on Wednesday 7th May (and then every first Wednesday of the month) at FLIP, 30 Lisle Street, WC2.

Juggy is sure to keep the dance floor grooving as he takes the crowd on a musical rollercoaster ride through the Sixties and Seventies, with his funky blend of Motown, Northern Soul, Funk and Rare Groove. Dance the night away to classics from Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, get down to rare soul from the vaults of Stax, Hi and Atlantic, and get on up to funky tunes from James Brown, The O'Jays and the Fatback Band.

It's What's In The Grooves That Counts

1st Wednesday of the month (commencing 07/05/03)
10pm - 2am
FLIP, 30 Lisle Street, London, WC2 (Leicester Sq underground)

Hope to see you there...

Juggy x

RSVP juggy@shakeyourtailfeather.co.uk

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

It was with no small amount of nostalgia that Guy, Andy, Kevin and I attended the Astoria on Monday night to see Erasure perform live. Both Guy and I are 'big' fans having seen most, if not all, of their live concerts between us. And as the show was about to start we stood in the auditorium reminiscing about the costumes La Bell wore at this show or that. And how much we both loved to see them perform live. We weren't alone in that view either. The Astoria was heaving. Heaving with thirty-somethings (sorry Guy (28) but I lump you in with them too!) who all remembered Erasure from the good old days and had come to see their memories replayed for them. The atmosphere was very convivial as you might expect with utter strangers soon becoming complete acquaintances - swapping "my favourite song" lists and typical fan gossip "do you think Andy's really gay or is it all an act?" (pur-leese!!).

The set was an open Victorian 'front room' with pastel wall paper, standard lamp, a horned gramophone player and a 42" plasma screen in a gold frame on the wall (nice idea) that was to show video clips during the show. Vince's synths (and Dell laptop!) were set up on stage right and two microphone stands for the back singers on stage left. The centre was left clear for Andy. We took in the set and chatted about sets they'd used in the past. And we waited. Surely they would be on soon? It was now 8:10pm and the rest of the crowd was getting impatient. A few cheers and hand-claps did the rounds. Then suddenly the lights dimmed and the music started to thump and door at the back of the set opened. The crowd went wild.

At Compton's where we met up earlier for a drink we had survived no small amount of scour poured on us and even some degree of disbelief too? "Who? Erasure? Who are they, then? 1980's? Bit before my time, mate? Can you sing me one of their songs?" Well, by the end of the night it seemed we were singing ALL of their songs. The songs that you remember the lyrics of before you remember the title.

He was the baby of the class you know
He really didn't know that one and one was two
Two and two were four

The roar and wolf-whistles that greeted Andy and Vince was deafening. Andy was decked in a black Victorian mourning dress with a bussell and top hat. Vince was wearing a matching black suit with top hat.

When it's cold (When it's cold) outside (outside)
Am I here in vain?
Hold on to the night
There will be no shame

The black hat and dress came off revealing a bodice, suspenders and shorts. Andy had obviously been working out. He was positively buffed. Guy went all gooey.

I'm building a wall
Everyday it's getting higher
This time I won't end up
Another victim of love

Andy's dancing was as "controversial" as ever. But it certainly was distinctive. Stripped now to just black shorts - what next? A Blue Savannah Thong? And sure enough right on cue...

Somewhere 'cross the desert
Sometime in the early hours
In a restless world
On the open highway

An on stage costume change now to a brown and yellow leather hooped dress produced whoops from the audience. Did this man know no shame?

Am I right?
Am I wrong?
Or am I just dreaming?

And then Erasure's "Pink Floyd" number... as they left the stage for another costume change during the 'five minute' instrumental. We went to the bar for drinks. It was almost an interval.

I've been getting used to all the crying
And the games that you play
And if I carry on I'm going to end up with a hole in my head

Back again in Miami Vice white suits and plain coloured T-shirts dancing and singing under the proud gaze (proud gays?) of ultraviolet lights. The crowd lovely it and singing at the top of their voices.

Take me I'm yours
Now I'm comin' up for air
I'm gonna live my time
For the rest of my life

Andy's microphone breaks down so he nestles in with the backing singers in true Supremes style. What a pro!

How can I explain
When there are few words I can choose
How can I explain
When words get broken

A slight tiff breaks out between Andy and Vince - the playback had started too early. Andy puts his foot down and makes Vince restart it. And then kisses him to apologize - much to the audience's delight. Andy then sings the opening bars from the ABBA Arrival song, "Everybody screams, when I kissed Mr Vince"

And the lovers that you sent for me
Didn't come with any satisfaction guarantee
So I'll return them to the sender
And the note attached will read

A rash of synchronised dancing breaks out to that Christmas Cracker, Stop! Even Andy joined in.

We'll be together again
I've been waiting for a long time
We're gonna be we're gonna be
Together again
I've been connected to the right line

The crowd are singing and dancing along to every song now. Hands are waving in the air like they just... don't... care!

Oh love of my heart
Why leave me alone
I'm falling apart
No good on my own

A big cheer goes up for one of our favourites. Andy is drowned out by the crowd singing.

It's not the way you lead me
By the hand into the bedroom
It's not the way you throw your clothes
Upon the bathroom floor

The boys go off stage. The crowd go wild for an encore. Minutes later they're back. We patiently stand through True Love Ways until we just can't wait for the song that we know will close the show...

I try to discover
A little something to make me sweeter
Oh baby refrain
From breaking my heart

The light come up. It's over. More than A Little Respect to the boys for a great show. A vibrant night out and all over by ten too! Great for those thirty-somethings that have to get up for work tomorrow. We go home happy.
Kids or Druggies?...
Nice colours, pretty things moving about - so it's for pre-school kids, right? Right??!!
[Thanks to Guy for the link]

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Mark and I took my Mum and Dad to the Adelphi Theatre in the The Strand yesterday afternoon to see a matinee performance of Chicago. I wasn't quite sure whether my Mum and Dad would like it. Hell, I wasn't even sure if I was going to like it either; knowing nothing about the plot or any of the songs except maybe one (well two as it turned out). I needn't have fretted though. They loved it. And so did I.

Chicago is a fantastic, energetic, sexy, well-performed and let's not forget funny piece of musical theatre. Great songs, great choreography and being so shamelessly show bis, it does what it says on the tin. Not that there wasn't some degree of post-modern winking for the sceptics too.

All That Jazz starts the show off in great style but despite the feeling that you've seen it all before - the energetic dancing, the black sexy tight-fitting clothes, the spread finger style, the bowler hats, the tableaux posing - it is just done so well. Within minutes everyone in the audience was smiling and clapping and singing to themselves or in some cases way out loud! We just knew from that moment on we were going to be in for a great show.

Now I'll not give away the story in case you've not seen it and might want to go yourself so suffice to say that despite the veneer it's a 'strong women' plot centring around two women taking control of their lives despite their rather dire predicament. Their competition for fame and fortune was at times funny and at times sad. But the master stroke of the production was the way the plot was allowed to develop through the music and lyrics rather than just the dialog. Each song progressed the story line rather than just being incidental. There were no "at this juncture she sings a pointless love song". There was no time to get bored. The pulsating rhythm of the narrative caught you up in it's current and dragged you along from each all-singing all-dancing number to the next. Pure class with a fantastic ending to boot.

After the show was over we went for coffee and spent over half an hour gushing about how good the show had been and how much we had all enjoyed it.

So our joint verdict: go see, go see, go see.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Game on...
Some really cool, addictive Shockwave games.
Tongue Twisters...
"Send toast to ten tense stout saints' ten tall tents" - and many other things to get your tongue round. My favourite is, "Eddie edited it".
Baby Doll...
The lovely and talented Hanni has been setting Marc Almond poetry to music. It seems such an obvious thing to do I'm surprised La Almond ain't done it himself. Taken from The End Of New York you can listen to a sample of Hanni's handywork on Baby Doll. And we're promised more. Nice one, Hanni.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

This coming Bank Holiday Monday I'm going to see Erasure at the Astoria. Guy is going too. Only Guy has a spare ticket and he has asked me to post the following:

I have ONE spare ticket to see ERASURE with Jonce and I on BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY (5th) Astoria at 7pm
Face value £24 but will accept £15
Let me know

Drop Guy a line if you fancy coming along. It will be a lot of fun.
Speed Demon...
Ever wondered exactly how fast your internet connect is? This is a nice little internet connection speedometer that will tell you.